Posted on November 18, 2019 at 8:24 AM by Guest Author
Updated on 11/15/2022
The holiday season is a great time to promote your work. Learn why it’s worth advertising books now and how to set up a successful holiday book promotion.
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This is a common question, and the short answer is — absolutely!
However, many authors, particularly new ones, think a holiday book promotion isn’t worth running. They believe people don’t read or buy books around the holidays because they’re so busy.
It’s true that schedules tend to fill up quickly between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, but plenty of individuals take the opportunity to sit down and unwind with a good book.
And if you’re not advertising books this time of year, you’re missing out on the chance to reach out to those readers and turn them into fans.
Further, many people receive gift cards during the holiday season, which they then use to purchase items they enjoy, such as ebooks.
So by running a holiday book promotion that extends into the month of January, you can give individuals the chance to pick up a great read (or two) for themselves as a bonus present.
Let’s debunk this myth once and for all by taking a look at book-buying trends during the holiday season…
According to Google Trends, each of the following online searches has experienced at least a modest spike between the months of November and January for the past five years:
Google Trends report for the search term “books” over the past five years.
Google Trends report for the search term “Kindle” over the past five years.
There are a few possible explanations for this increased interest in book-related searches during the holiday season:
Those who have time off work are looking for reading material for themselves.
People traveling during the holidays are searching for books to read on the plane or in the car.
Those who just know they’ll need to sneak away from their relatives at some point are browsing for books they can read in a nice, quiet corner.
Individuals are hunting for books and reading devices to give as holiday gifts.
Parents are exploring reading options for their children during the holiday break.
You may be thinking, “Sure, people are searching for books, but are they really buying? Will setting up a holiday book promotion actually help me sell more books?”
Yes, they are. And yes, it will.
Still, there are additional reasons to promote your ebook that you should keep in mind…
The interest in books around this time of year is compelling enough on its own. However, you may still be unsure about running a holiday book promotion. In that case, consider the following:
Advertising now can set you up for success in the coming year.
If you haven’t already done so, you’ll probably start making a list of goals for the coming year soon. Whether you’re aiming to grow your email list, bring in more reviews, increase sales, etc., advertising a book now can help you achieve your goals.
By putting yourself and your work in front of readers when interest is high, you can improve your chances of getting them to subscribe, review, or buy down the road — if not immediately.
End-of-year advertising is a common approach for book retailers.
Book retailers know that the end of the year is a great time for book sales, which is why they put a lot of effort and planning into maximizing Q4 revenue. As an indie author, you should consider following suit. After all, it makes sense to look at what others in the book industry are doing, especially if you’re just getting started.
The U.S. book market is still higher now than it was pre-pandemic.
Research shows that although the current U.S. book market has experienced a slight decline, it’s 14% higher than in the same period of 2019. This means there is still a good opportunity to bring in sales, particularly if you offer your ebook at a discount.
When you look at all the facts, it’s clear that you're missing out if you’re not advertising books during the holiday season.
Now is the time to set up your holiday book promotion…
Though advertising books this time of year may seem intimidating (after all, people are being bombarded by ads online), you have a good chance of success if you take the right approach.
So, consider applying the following tips to your own holiday book promotion.
1. START AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.
To ensure a successful seasonal book promotion, you need to plan it out carefully and execute it as soon as possible. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are when a lot of holiday sales are made, so you should begin broadcasting information about your book(s) at least a week or two beforehand.
It’s also worth noting that you may want to extend your promotion into January, as those who receive gift cards, cash, and reading devices the previous month often purchase books a few weeks later.
2. OFFER THE FIRST BOOK IN A SERIES FOR FREE.
If you’ve written a series, you’ll have a better chance of getting current fans to invest in a digital or physical box set. But if you also want to bring in new readers, you should consider offering the first book for free.
This is a great tactic, as it allows readers to “test out” an author’s work before they buy. In fact, a survey conducted by The Fussy Librarian revealed that 83% of respondents purchased an ebook from an author after enjoying a free book from the same author.
3. INCLUDE HOLIDAY-THEMED MESSAGING IN SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS.
You may think posting about your holiday book promotion is a waste of time, given that people experience social media overload this time of year, but it’s actually an extremely effective tactic.
Think about it…
Current fans who see that you’re advertising books may not only make a purchase but also share your posts. As a result, you can gain greater exposure and generate additional sales.
So, post on each of your platforms. Include holiday-themed messaging to announce preorder opportunities, well-wishes, special editions, etc.
4. RESEARCH AND APPLY RELEVANT HASHTAGS.
While we’re on the subject of social media, be sure to research and apply relevant hashtags to your posts, especially on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. This is one of Penny Sansevieri’s tips for selling more books during the holidays. Search for trending hashtags that fit the season and will help you stand out.
Some examples may include the following:
5. UPDATE EACH BOOK’S AMAZON PAGE.
If it’s been a while since you updated the Amazon retail page for your book(s), make sure to do so before the holiday season. Once you guide readers to the page, you want them to take the next step and buy or download your ebook. So, put effort into making each page as persuasive as possible with recent reviews, an attention-grabbing cover, and a compelling description.
Additionally, you can add promotion information to the page via Amazon Author Central.
6. USE YOUR EMAIL LIST TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
Newsletters are great for getting the word out about new releases and specials. Around this time of year, you should include information about your holiday book promotion in the broadcasts you send to email subscribers.
Let them know…
What titles are available
What formats are available
What discounts you’re offering
How long the special will last
Don’t have an email list? You can always sign up to promote your free ebook in our newsletter!
7. LEVERAGE USER-GENERATED CONTENT.
Advertising books becomes much easier when you have your existing fan base helping out. Others are more likely to download or buy your ebook if they see others enjoying it. So, encourage your readers to share photos of themselves reading your book and tag you on social media. As long as you have their permission, you can share this user-generated content and build more buzz for your holiday book promotion.
Advertising books this holiday season can help you get more eyes on your work during a popular time of year. If you don’t run a holiday book promotion, you’re missing out on a great opportunity.
So, start working on a plan today, and discover the impact holiday sales can have on your success as an author!
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